Meet Ottawa’s mo twins

Ottawa identical twins Joelle and Danielle Hamilton sported faux moustaches for Movember.

Identical twin sisters Joelle and Danielle Hamilton vowed to put on fake moustaches if their friends drummed up $1,000 for Movemeber. The fake mo’s went on Nov. 6 and haven’t come off yet. There are two reasons why the Hamiltons decided to approach the challenge.

The first is their grandfather, who died of prostate cancer Nov. 12 last year at the age of 81. The second is Danielle’s two-year-old son, James.

“He’s the most special little man in my life. When he’s older, I want men’s health to be understood,” says Joelle. “I want medical testing for prostate cancer to get better and more accurate.”

The sisters were born in Ottawa and lived in Toronto and Sudbury before returning to Ottawa to study at the University of Ottawa in 2001. Now 30, Joelle studied business and law and now works in social media and Danielle studied medicine and is a family physician in Orléans.

Danielle is the older twin by eight minutes, but she is also less extroverted than Joelle, who calls herself the “socialista.”

The twins had been involved in Movember before and decided soon after their grandfather’s death to do something different this year. Joelle came up with the idea of issuing a challenge to their friends and pledged to paste on fake moustaches for the month of November as soon as $1,000 had been pledged.

“Joelle called me and said ‘I have this great idea.’ That’s how I get roped into things,” says Danielle.

With the help of double-side fashion tape, the ‘‘staches went on the next day.

A friend had given them a set of “emergency moustaches” from a novelty shop. They also picked up some authentic-looking real fur ‘staches from a theatre-supply shop.

“They don’t look so good anymore because they shed all the time and they’re getting thin,” says Joelle, who takes hers off to eat spaghetti. Plus, her nephew is a little afraid of the hairy beast.

As a physician, Danielle has always believed that it is important to engage male patients in conversations about men’s physical and mental health. “Men are more reluctant to talk about health issues,” says Danielle, who couldn’t wear the faux mo all the time at the clinic because it was affecting her time management.

“Ten-minute appointments were turning into 20-minute appointments,” she says.

Joelle says grooming and fashion co-ordination are very important when you’re a woman who’s sporting a mo. Good makeup and a pair of shiny red lips help.

“Today I decided to wear a grey dress, for example” she says. “I wanted to match my mo to my dress.”

Actually, it’s easier being moustachioed twin women when you’re together rather than apart, says Joelle.

“I couldn’t walk two steps at the Wine & Food Festival without someone stopping me,” she says.

“People will look at me and say ‘nice moustache’ and we’ll start talking. Some people will look at me and look away. Like, ‘Don’t talk to the crazy girl,’” she says. “When we’re together, people find it easier to talk to us. People see that we’re doing it for a reason.”

They reached the $1,000 mark by Nov. 4, and by the end of the month, donations added up to $3,160.

Meanwhile, Joelle is looking to bump up their efforts next year by recruiting other twins to take part. A friend in the U.K. has been posting photographs of her baby daughter wearing moustaches.

“What’s great about Movember is that it links people all over the world to the cause,” says Joelle.

“It really was fun. I don’t know what I will do without my mo. It has become part of my identity.”

Connect with Joanne Laucius |Google+|jlaucius@ottawacitizen.com